Books I didn't like · Scottish / Irish lit.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

In the 1930s, a revolutionary teacher, Jean Brodie, uses unorthodox methods to teach the girls of her ‘Brodie Set’ about the world and about life.

The way this story is written makes it seem like a fable. The six girls of the Brodie set learn about life and love through what they see and what happens to them as the story progresses. It’s quite a short story by and large, but I was surprised that I didn’t like it as much as I expected.

Yes, the girls learn about life and their 10-year-old naiveté is evident at the beginning of the story and the use of the ‘flash-forward’ is good but apart from that…stuff just ‘happened’. It’s always a good thing to have a character who goes against the rule but after I finished the book I just felt nothing. I hadn’t connected to the characters at all. It all seemed to be a series of vignettes. I don’t know. Maybe a second reading of this book is needed, but not at the moment.

Miss Brodie’s personal assessment of all the characters probably culminated in the girls of The Set following her blindly and as a result those who weren’t part of it felt rejected in extreme ways. It was good, though, when we learn the fates of all the girls. Until their fates are reminded to us. Over and over. There was a bit in it about fascism which I really didn’t understand.

In general, this book was uninteresting. Maybe the film adaptation will add more to the story but right now the idea doesn’t really pique my interest.

MY RATING: ** / *****


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